By Olivia Bunter
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has spoken about meeting Jesus in the Eucharist, drawing upon the history of Moses and the Israelites during his homily for Maundy Thursday.
More than 600 people gathered for the Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Costelloe and concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez, Assistant Priest Fr Conor Steadman as MC, Vicar for Clergy Fr Brian McKenna, St Charles Seminary Rector Fr Philip Fleay, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Vice-Rector Fr Luis Tijerino, and assisted by Deacon Paul Russell.
Several other clergy were also present for the Mass, which included a liturgy of the washing of the feet of 12 lay faithful by Archbishop Costelloe, re-enacting the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, as recounted in the Gospels.
Speaking about the Eucharist in his homily, Archbishop Costelloe asked the congregation, “Why has the Lord given us this remarkable gift?”
“It is an important question and takes us to the heart of our faith. Indeed we can ask the same question about the gift of faith itself. Why us?.”
The answer, explained Archbishop Costelloe, runs through every page of the Gospels.
“‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’; ‘those who do not take up their cross and follow me are not worthy of me’; ‘it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven’; ‘love one another as I have loved you’, ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’,” he quoted.
Archbishop Costelloe continued by saying that these are extraordinarily high demands and they only scratch the surface of what the Lord asks of us.
“How can we possibly hope to reach the standard Jesus sets for us? The answer is, of course that we can’t – or at least not on our own.”
“There is something God-given within each of us which urges us to do more and to be more.
“At times that something gets corrupted and rather than wanting to do and be more we find ourselves wanting to have more.
“It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our happiness and fulfilment ultimately depend on what we have. But really our ultimate happiness depends on our living our lives as God intends: with integrity, with honesty, with generosity and with compassion.”
This, he said, is what it means to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
“In the depths of our heart, I suspect we all want this: to be able to live, and love, and care, and forgive, and give, as Jesus did.
“If we allow ourselves to be united with Christ in the Eucharist, and week by week, as we gather each Sunday, welcome him into our lives, then we will begin to see with his eyes, and listen with his ears, speak with his words and love with his heart. He will make his home in us and through his presence enable us to be all that he is calling us to be.”
Archbishop Costelloe expressed that he hopes the words of Moses might find a place in the hearts of each parishioner.
“What other people is there that has its gods so near as our God is to us?” Archbishop Costelloe echoed in his conclusion.